Thursday, August 29, 2013

Dishcrawl Pioneer Valley: Greenfield -- Eat Local!


Dishcrawl is quickly becoming one of my favorite monthly events. The last one I attended was in June, but they do one a month. Four restaurants, four courses, up to 12 different samples of food--what's not to love? Here's how it works: you buy your ticket--$45, but if you follow them on Facebook there are always coupons and fun contests to lower the cost a bit. I actually won $15 off my ticket for getting second place in the caption contest, and my mom used the Early Bird coupon--and then you wait to hear where you will meet for the crawl. It's all a surprise, and you don't get to know the meeting place until the night before. The following restaurants (4 in total) aren't revealed until you are actually walking to them... very fun!



And our fearless Dishcrawl leader here in the Pioneer Valley, Jenn, is amazing and finds all sorts of fun places. Plus, this month's Dishcrawl was in Greenfield, the town I currently call home, so there was no way I wasn't going! The theme was "eat local" something we're good at here in Western Massachusetts, with all this farmland and whatnot. And my date for the evening?


My lovely mom, of course! We had fun chatting and sipping wine in between courses. This time was a little different than my last Dishcrawl--there were THREE samples of food rather than two at each place. Smaller portions for sure, but I liked that we got to try more items. Our first stop was the only place that it turns out I hadn't actually been before, so I was excited to see what they offered!


I've lived in Greenfield for about a year now, but I'd never been to the Greenfield Grille, our meeting point and first stop. It's a Greenfield favorite, and immediately upon walking in I noticed some locals. Our Grille host, Tim, was the most energetic of our hosts for the evening, and he had my mom and I laughing after he took a picture of himself with her iphone when he offered to take our picture. I assured him we'd use it as her background. He was also very accommodating to the allergies in the group--since my mom has an allergy to peppers, her dishes for the evening were slightly different than mine.


My plate: a house-made veggie burger, a bacon-wrapped scallop, and garlic bread with a gorgonzola dipping sauce. Can you guess how fast I devoured my plate? Pretty dang fast. I love homemade veggie burgers, and this one was perfectly crisp and filled with fresh veggies. I do wish we'd gotten a few more scallops (or just a bigger scallop), since this delicious bite was over far too soon. My mom did not get the veggie burger, because of the peppers, and instead got mussels. The mussels were cooked well, but I would have appreciated some sort of sauce over them, as they were a little dry. Great if you love the flavor of mussles themselves, but I tend to like a little butter or light sauce at least. Mom was not a fan (her seafood legs are wobbly), but I ate them for her and didn't complain--more food, more happy. Yes. While waiting to check into Dishcrawl we had a moment to browse the menu and the seafood section caught my eye for sure. I need to come back here sometime for a full dinner!


Next up was one of my favorite places in town to grab a bite--the People's Pint! I love the People's Pint (simply called "The Pint" by locals) and my go-to meal is always always always the pulled pork. And, whaddya know, pulled pork was the main bite on our plate!



This was the fullest plate we got, packed to the brim with fresh, local veggies. With the pork we also got house made coleslaw, a goat cheese salad with house dressing, and a sample of gingerale. Since there were peppers in the pork, my mom was given a sample of the house-cured bacon--the picture at the very top of this post. OMFGJGSDFOPSFKFG the bacon was good. I am glad she shared. The house made gingerale was lovely, and it was cool to get a little drink in addition to the meal! I typically get the Farmer's Daughter here (brown ale with gingerale) but didn't realize it was homemade, so it was cool to get a taste sans-beer. There apparently was peppers in the gingerale, so Mom got rootbeer instead. Very tasty. I cleared my plate here, too.


Up next was a place I've only been once, Magpie! Since my last visit had been a date with a guy who ended up being the most epic of douchenozzles, I was looking forward to making a better memory impression with Magpie this time around. The specialty here is pizza, and my family is fiercely loyal to another pizza place in Greenfield only, Village Pizza, so I rarely make it across the street to Magpie. However, the pizzas at Magpie are so different than the Greek-Style Pizza of Village, that it's impossible to compare the two. I'm not the biggest pizza fan, but I was impressed with my food here. And, in fact, we didn't even get Pizza at Magpie.


Here we were given a meatball, a peach slice wrapped in prosciutto, and some sort of amazing zucchini Parmesan wonderfulness. My mom's plate was almost entirely different because of the pepper avoidance, and she got roast corn and heirloom tomato salad. Both plates were wonderful and so full of flavor--I need to re-create this zucchini thing!!--but way too small. We finished in seconds and sipped on white sangria for the rest of our stay. It pretty much sealed the deal for me that I need to return to Magpie for dinner sometime, though. If these small bites are any indication on how they do dinner, they do it well. I mean, look at this menu... this is no ordinary pizza place.


Although I'd correctly guessed the two stops prior, the last stop was a total surprise to me, mostly because this restaurant typically closes mid-afternoon!

Oops, forgot to snap a pic of the place myself, photo credit the Brattleboro Reformer

The Brass Buckle is probably in my Top 3 Favorite Brunch Spots in the area, so it didn't occur to me that they would be our dessert and final stop on the Dishcrawl. They occasionally stay open for special dinners, and they stayed open for us this time! I am in love with their Huevos Rancheros and the Sausage Gravy Over Biscuits, but had never tried their baked goods.

Dishcrawlers hanging at the buckle

Our dessert was an Apple Pie Cupcake with cream cheese frosting. It was incredible, but at this point I was a little too full to finish it.


Overall, a very successful Dishcrawl! I was happy it sold out quickly--ensuring that Dishcrawl will continue on! Thanks so much to Jenn for putting it all together. The next Dishcrawl will be Springfield, and the October Dishcrawl is a surprise. I do know that it'll be a Halloween crawl, and there will be a costume contest! SCORE! I hope there are many, many more Dishcrawls to come :)


 Do you have a Dishcrawl in your city? Have you ever done it? I'd love to hear your experience!

Jenn said we look alike, but my mom and I disagree. What do you think?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Paleo Fried Chicken with Chipotle Honey Mustard

Hey guys! My Summer Goal is to get 1000 LIKES on Facebook... help me out? Only 113 more to go! :D Extra Goal: 500 fans on Twitter, which is proving a bit more difficult...

When I was trying to figure out a diet plan for myself, I knew that cutting calories wasn't going to... cut it. Experiments in the past have left me feeling hungry and unfulfilled, and with way too much room to cheat. Have 200 calories left for the day? Clearly they need to be consumed via Ice Cream--which, I believe, is the most impossible food to portion out. 1/2 cup serving size is how many scoops? Five sounds good. Half the carton? Ben and Jerry's carton is ONE serving, everybody knows that! Sure.

No wonder I wasn't seeing results.

So I have been experimenting with Low Carb, because it's the one that leaves me feeling the most satisfied at the end of the day. Sure, I cheat occasionally, but eating a lovely marinated steak with a heaping portion of veggies is just so much more attractive to me than a portioned out half cup of pasta with sauce, no matter how much I miss spaghetti and meatballs sometimes. And, because I'm realistic, I allow myself to cheat every so often, as I'm following more of an 80/20 or 90/10 plan than full 100%. I've found that Paleo recipes are the easiest ones to pick, to ensure low carb intake, and they're rather tasty as well.


Paleo also tends to avoid gluten and dairy, which are digestive triggers for me. And they use plant based flours, which are less expensive (but still rather pricey, oof) than buying 5 separate flours to create a gluten-free baking mix. Plus, it's a really fun challenge to try to de-carb-ify my favorite meals. Take this fried chicken recipe, for example.

No, please, take it. Make it. Devour it. It's so SO good. The almond flour crust is so much more hearty and flavorful than traditional fried chicken batter. The chipotle honey mustard is the perfect dipping sauce. It all comes together beautifully and while I still get a hankering for KFC, this curbs the craving pretty well. I am having visions of doing a Chicken and Waffles dinner soon, using the Paleo Waffle recipe I posted last week.

Dishcrawl June

And about those cheats... Foodie Events? Vacations? Totally my cheat days. Like tonight, Dishcrawl Pioneer Valley is happening in my current town, and I am SO excited to see what Jenn has in store for us! Expect a recap soon! If your city has a Dishcrawl, definitely check it out. It can get pricey, but there are often coupons and early bird specials that make it a great value for what is essentially a four course meal.

Does your city have a Dishcrawl? Have you ever been on one? What was it like?

 Paleo Fried Chicken & Chipotle Honey Mustard

  • 3 boneless chicken breasts, cut into 3 chunks each
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • Cajun seasoning, or whatever spicy blend you'd like
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 3 tbs butter
  • Oil of choice (I used veg oil, to be truly Paleo, use coconut oil)

For the Mustard

  • 1/2 cup honey dijon mustard (or mix honey with dijon mustard until desired sweetness is reached)
  • 1 chipotle pepper, from a can
  • 2 tbs liquid from chipotle pepper can

-In a frying pan with deep edges, melt the butter over medium heat. Add oil and let heat until a crumb sizzles upon contact.

-Meanwhile, combine almond meal, seasoning, and salt and pepper. Add more or less seasoning, to your liking. *Note* It will taste a little blander than you think, so over-season just a bit.

-Pat the chicken pieces dry and dunk in the egg wash, turning to coat evenly, then roll in the almond meal mixture. Immediately place in oil, and fry until sides are dark brown and chicken is cooked through. Repeat for each.

Mustard: In a hand-crank food processor or small batch food processor, process ingredients, adding more or less of each component until desired flavor is reached.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Ginger Honey Dill Carrots

Hey guys! My Summer Goal is to get 1000 LIKES on Facebook... help me out? Only 113 more to go! :D Extra Goal: 500 fans on Twitter, which is proving a bit more difficult...

Is anyone else getting a ton of multicolored carrots in their farm share? I always assumed carrots were more of a winter thing, but this summer has yielded more carrots than I've ever had in my possession. And not those bloated, so-orange-they-seem-fake carrots of supermarket produce... no, these are spindly, slightly sweet, earthier carrots with a bit of good New England dirt still clinging to their slight curves. And not just orange--I never knew that carrots came in such a rainbow of colors! Purple and yellow are also staples.

My problem is, I keep grabbing them when I see them at the Farmer's Market, forgetting I already have at least two bunches waiting to be eaten in the crisper. Oops. If anyone knows what to do with carrot greens, please let me know, as they keep taking up space in my fridge.


So, carrots have been a plentiful side at most meals in my house. I decided to forgo my typical ginger carrots--simmer in gingerale until carrots are tender and gingerale has reduced to a sauce--and get a little more adventurous. Roasting is my favorite way to prepare veggies, so I went with that and experimented a little.

Here I combined the ginger flavors with another favorite way to prepare carrots--dill. It may sound weird at first, but trust me. Somehow, this all just works.

Roasted Ginger Honey Dill Carrots
1 bunch assorted carrots (fresh from the Farmer's Market or organic "rainbow carrots" to get the nice color variety)
3 tbs olive oil
sea salt
2 tbs grated ginger
3 tbs honey
2 tbs melted butter
1-2 tsp dried or fresh dill

-Preheat oven to 350. Wash and trim carrots. If you like, peel the carrots. I found the skins to be thin and not too "dirt" tasting, so I left them on.

-Toss with olive oil and sprinkle generously with sea salt. Lay in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until edges begin to blacken--about 15-20 mins.

-In a separate bowl, whisk together the honey, butter, and ginger. When carrots are done, drizzle over the top and sprinkle with dill. Let sit for a few minutes to let the flavors meld. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Nostalgia Foods -- Crock Pot Ribs and Zesty Slaw

 You know how certain foods can call up a memory and transport you back to a certain time? Or a signature dish of a family member makes you miss them if they've since passed? There are so many foods that call up the memories with the first spoonful. Specifically, to a pretty house on a street called Day Avenue--close enough to school that I could ride my bike, and a pond where Dad and I fished and caught frogs--the home I lived in from the ages of 6 to 10.

I think about my childhood and I remember so many good dinners, even though my mom likes to say she never was the best cook. I grew up with a taste for everything, aside from raw onions and probably lima beans, there was really no food I wouldn't eat. Thinking back, a lot of what we ate was Campbell's Soup based casseroles, dinners from boxes and mixes, and some family-sized frozen meals (Banquet Chicken Parm will hold a place in my heart forever). I now realize how much time and effort goes into planning and executing meals, even just cooking for myself and my boyfriend, it makes sense that my two working parents sometimes needed a boost from a box.

The house on the top right

Not that we didn't ever have fresh meals, we did, and I remember that there was always a hefty portion of vegetables accompanying every dish, but when I think back to my favorite foods growing up I remember Dad's baked beans and baked potatoes with chili, Mom's taco dip and Pepperidge Farms casserole, or the Canned Soup Enchiladas and the Banquet Chicken Parm. These are the dishes that, when I'm feeling like remembering my childhood, I call up.

And these, my mom's Country Ribs, which I would beg for every summer. Paired with sweet native corn--Hatfield Corn, from my hometown, is better than any other corn in the world that I've had--the falling-off-the-bone ribs were a summer favorite that I looked forward to every year.


These ribs are special. Since teaching myself to cook (and becoming an un-vegetarian, again, for the second time), I've longed for these ribs. They probably were my second favorite dish, after the Chicken Parm, but in recent years the special BBQ sauce was nowhere to be found, and they just weren't the same without the sweet-tangy orange hued sauce. All I remembered about it was the blue cap. The name escaped me. My mom and stepdad assumed the brand had gone out of business. I was heartbroken.

One day, while trying to figure out what to have for dinner, I turned to my boyfriend and said "I wish they still had that BBQ sauce with the blue cap." To which he immediately responded, "Open Pit?" The name rung a hard, loud bell in my head. "My parents used to get that all the time, at Costco, I think?" The search was on.


Since we didn't have a Costco card, we searched our local grocery stores. I finally found the coveted blue cap BBQ sauce on the bottom shelf, all the way to the left, at my most-visited supermarket of all places. Though the bottle was no longer glass and the logo had changed, it was the one. Out of cursory sight, I'd missed it all these years. I grabbed 3 bottles. I braced myself for the price of the country style ribs, and wonder of wonders, they were on sale! It was kismet.

While you can grill these, I chose the crock pot route. And I didn't pair them with my favorite corn, but rather some spicy roasted cauliflower bites and a zesty slaw. Recipes for both are to follow.

Crock Pot Country Style Ribs

  • ~3 lbs country style ribs, sliced into individual ribs if bought in slab form
  • 2-3 bottles Open Pit BBQ sauce
  • Optional: onions

-Put ribs an onions into crock pot. Cover generously with BBQ sauce.

-Cook on Low for 6-8 hours, until meat is tender and easily falls off the bone. Discard BBQ sauce that is left in the crock pot (it will be runny, full of the pork fat, and unusable).

-Toss or simply top ribs with remaining BBQ sauce.

Roasted Cauliflower Florets

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets (or one bag frozen, defrosted)
  • 1 tbs red pepper flakes
  • 3 tbs-1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbs Boyajian Wasabi oil
  • sprinkle of cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.* Toss cauliflower with olive oil, cayenne, and salt and pepper.

-Lay cauliflower in single layer on a cookie sheet. Roast for 10 minutes, flipping halfway, until beginning to brown.

-Sprinkle with Wasabi oil, serve.
*Optional: for a softer inside, boil cauliflower for 5 minutes prior to dressing them to cook.

Zesty No-Mayo Coleslaw

  • 1 cup green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup purple cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup broccoli slaw mix
  • 1-2 tbs dijon mustard
  • 1 tbs red wine vinegar (I used sherry vinegar)
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 3 tbs cup olive oil

-Toss cabbages and broccoli slaw until well mixed. Separately, whisk together wet ingredients. Slowly add wet to dry, stirring vigorously, until cabbage-slaw combo is well combined. If more dressing is needed, feel free to make a second batch of dressing, using only enough to coat the cabbage mixture.

-Let sit in fridge for an hour to let flavors mesh.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Great and Terrible Weekend -- Gluten Free Banana Waffles

Yet another jam-packed summer weekend, and only two more to go! Next weekend I'll be at another reenactment, and the following week I'll be visiting a friend in Austin, Texas. And then it will be September, and it'll be a straight shot to fall. I'm excited for the county fairs and the gorgeous foliage, I am NOT excited for that being a hop skip and a jump into winter. Endless New England winters are not my favorite.

The downside to my weekend was an accident while tubing for the first time. I was thrown from my tube, and since I am an utter IDIOT, I didn't wear a life vest because I was hoping to catch some late-summer sun by wearing a bikini top. If you remember, I am not a strong swimmer. Like, at all. I never really learned and while I've tried to teach myself a bit, I can't go for long by myself in the water. So after being thrown from the tube and grabbing it back before it floated away, I was pulled down the rapids and my roommate had to come rescue me because I couldn't get myself up onto the tube. It was probably the scariest thing that's happened to me in a long time, even if in retrospect my life wasn't actually in danger... it was hard to think that when I kept getting banged on rocks and inhaling water. I'm pretty bruised up today, too, and my back is in a lot of pain.

Definitely grateful we decided not to drink while on the river (though we saw LOTS of people breaking that rule), and that my roommate had tied her tube to mine so that I didn't get too far away from everyone.

I'll go tubing again, but I'll check my vanity at the door and wear a freaking life vest next time.

Aside from the bruises, I'm almost more distraught that my phone, which had a "water proof case" on it in my backpack (which apparently wasn't so waterproof) is on the fritz and now I am dreading that I'll have to get a new phone which I cannot afford. Add that to the fact that my laptop needs a new battery, AND I already spent my "extra money" this month on my trip to Austin... oof. When it rains, it pours, right? And it certainly doesn't rain money. Oh well, c'est la vie, your 20's are all about being broke anyway, right?

Anyways, this was what I made for breakfast that day. I've been trying to stick to the diet of "just meat, veggies, fruits, and nuts" in an attempt to shed some poundage, but I really REALLY wanted waffles for breakfast. So, I found this recipe for gluten free, almond flour based waffles that were just incredible. You won't miss the gluten, promise.

Paleo (Plus Chocolate) Banana Waffles
Adapted from Joyful Abode

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed or pureed until mostly smooth but a little bit chunky
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips


-Preheat your waffle iron to its desired setting. I set mine to the highest.

-In one bowl, sift together all dry ingredients. In a stand mixer, mix together all wet ingredients. Slowly add the dry to the wet, until well combined. If mixture seems a bit too runny, add a little more almond flour. It should be the consistency of pancake batter.

-Grease the waffle iron with oil of choice--if going Paleo, coconut oil works best. Since I'm only sort of doing that, I used spray oil.

-Drop the batter by the ladleful (~1/2 cup) into waffle iron wells. If your waffle iron has a timer, check after timer goes off. These take longer than traditional waffles and will not develop as crisp of a crust, but an extra few minutes in a heated oven (~350 degrees F) should crisp them up a bit. Gently remove from waffle iron, top with pure maple syrup, fruit, or honey.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Mistake Milkshakes #IceCreamWeek

Welcome to #IceCreamWeek! Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Jen of Juanita’s Cocina have teamed up with more than 20 of their blog friends to bring you a week full of ice cream treats, including a special ice cream giveaway! Prepare to have your taste buds tempted with some of the best ice cream treats around! Make sure you enter the giveaway for a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker and two fabulous ice cream cookbooks so that you can join in on the ice cream fun!


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You know what they say--when life gives you extremely drippy ice cream cookie sandwiches, you make milkshakes.

They say that, right?

Oh so drippy.

Well, that's what I did, anyway. 

After I deemed the post-photoshoot cookie sandwiches "too messy to eat," I scraped out the ice cream and set aside the now soggy cookies. What to do? What to do? While my boyfriend struggled with consuming a salvaged cookie sandwich over the sink, I pondered.

Then, it came to me.


Duh.

Milkshakes.

And so it was, and it was good.

What I didn't think of: Kahlua. Wouldn't these be DIVINE with Kahlua? I think so. There's always next time!


"Mistake" Milkshakes: Salted Caramel Cookie Shakes
(Makes 1 milkshake)

-In a food processor or a ziplock bag with a rolling pin, pulverize cookies into crumbs. Dab a bit of chocolate sauce over the lip of your milkshake cups, and roll in cookie crumbs to coat. Sprinkle a bit of remaining crumbs in bottom of glass.

-In a blender, blend the milk, ice cream, and remaining cookie crumbs with a bit of chocolate syrup, to taste.

-Pour into glasses and garnish with more syrup.



If you’d like to check out today’s #IceCreamWeek recipes, drool over the blogs below:
Make sure you stop by our Pinterest board #IceCreamWeek 2013 to answer today's question which enters you in our bonus prize draw. Just click the highlighted link and it will take you right there so you can comment on the pin!


Want to enter to win your very own ice cream maker?? Head over to my #IceCreamWeek Kickoff post for the details!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Ice Cream Social Week: Healthier Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream #IceCreamWeek

 Welcome to #IceCreamWeek! Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Jen of Juanita’s Cocina have teamed up with more than 20 of their blog friends to bring you a week full of ice cream treats, including a special ice cream giveaway! Prepare to have your taste buds tempted with some of the best ice cream treats around! Make sure you enter the giveaway for a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker and two fabulous ice cream cookbooks so that you can join in on the ice cream fun!

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If you've been bopping around here lately, you know I've been experimenting with diets. Being a food blogger on a diet can be both a blessing and a curse. Curse, because for one you're cooking a TON and two, because on average, people like sweets and you want to give your audience what they want--so you end up making cronuts and eating the leftovers so as not to be wasteful. Blessing, because you clearly know your way around food and can use your talents to try and find a tastier array of diet food.


I've found that low calorie diets don't quite work with me, and I keep trying to get into paleo/primal type things because I know I won't feel deprived. The only catch is, no grains or dairy or starchy carbs. Which is freaking HARD. But, a challenge. I keep cheating, but eventually I want to get to a point where I can do 90% of my week primal, and 10% so I don't drive myself nuts with no tacos, pizza, baked potatoes, rice, sushi, etc. That's my goal. Plus getting my ass back to the gym, which keeps getting harder...

I've been experimenting with coconut milk as a sub for dairy and I really love it. While I can't quite drink it plain it's doing wonders for my coffee. And the ice cream tastes fantastic. Yes, it tastes like coconut. But I am more than okay with that because coconut is awesome.

If you want a low-guilt treat, definitely try this. It's rich and creamy and you won't even miss the dairy, promise!

Healthier Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream
(Adapted Base Recipe from Beantown Baker)

  • 3 cups coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup cocoa (overflowing)
  • 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 dark or semisweet chocolate bar, broken into chunks.

-Place chopped chocolate in a large bowl. Separately, heat 2 cups of the coconut milk until just steaming. Add sweetener and salt, and stir until well incorporated.

-In a medium sized bowl, whisk egg yolks. Slowly temper scoops of the hot coconut milk mixture into egg yolks, whisking constantly and taking care not to let the eggs scramble. Return mixture to the saucepan.

-Mix in the cocoa and cook over low heat until the mixture has thickened, about 10 minutes. When done, it should coat the back of the spoon.

-Pour hot mixture over chocolate pieces and let sit for a few minutes, then whisk vigorously until chocolate is fully incorporated.

-Strain into a large bowl (I skip this, I eyeball it and if it looks smooth I trust it). Add the rest of the coconut milk and stir to combine. Refrigerate mixture overnight or until completely chilled.

-Process according to ice cream maker instructions, then freeze for three hours for a thicker ice cream texture.

NOTE: If frozen for longer, it may freeze solid. A half hour or so on the countertop or microwaving at half power for increments of 1 minute will help it get back to scoopable texture.


If you’d like to check out today’s #IceCreamWeek recipes, drool over the blogs below:
Make sure you stop by our Pinterest board #IceCreamWeek 2013 to answer today's question which enters you in our bonus prize draw. Just click the highlighted link and it will take you right there so you can comment on the pin!


Want to enter to win your very own ice cream maker?? Head over to my #IceCreamWeek Kickoff post for the details!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Ice Cream Social Week: Toffee Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches #IceCreamWeek

Welcome to #IceCreamWeek! Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Jen of Juanita’s Cocina have teamed up with more than 20 of their blog friends to bring you a week full of ice cream treats, including a special ice cream giveaway! Prepare to have your taste buds tempted with some of the best ice cream treats around! Make sure you enter the giveaway for a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker and two fabulous ice cream cookbooks so that you can join in on the ice cream fun!

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These ice cream sandwiches aren't winning any beauty pageants, that's for sure. Are there beauty pageants for food? I guess the more accurate statement would be "these photos have no chance of getting accepted to FoodGawker or Tastespotting," the behemoths of internet food porn.


But, as they say, you shouldn't be so quick to judge a book by its cover. Or, in this case, an ice cream sandwich by its utter messiness. I assure you, it's moreso a product of being assembled and photographed in a room of my apartment with no AC at 4:00pm on an August day than any sort of failure on the recipe's part.


Creamy, sweet-savory salted caramel ice cream on the inside, crisp toffie chocolate chip cookies on the outside. As an avid Heath Bar, Skor Bar, and now Daim Bar lover--damn you, Daim bars, for being an international candy bar and not at my local convenience store--this is the perfect combo. If you were to roll the edges in crushed toffee bars (if you live in Iceland and can get Daim Bar Bites, 1. I hate you with a jealous envy, and 2. USE THEM FOR THIS PURPOSE PLEASE) that would be ideal. I'm kind of glad I didn't for the sake of this photoshoot, the mess may have been too much to handle.

To lessen the drippy nature of the sandwiches: either eat immediately, or wrap in tinfoil and freeze immediately until ready to eat.

Or you could... well, you'll have to wait to see what I did with the leftovers ;)

PS. The cookie recipe is from my friend Gilana, with only minor alterations. If you're a New Englander, you should thank her for this amazingness by going to her play this weekend! It's her first directing gig ever (mine is this week too! And the rest of the month on Thursdays...) She's doing her play through one of my favorite local groups, New Renaissance Players, and at my very favorite theater, The Shea. Locals, check it out!!


Toffee Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches

For the Ice Cream
(base recipe that I used here)

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 egg yolks

-In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, melt 1 cup of the sugar, stirring occasionally with a silicone spatula and watching constantly. Continue cooking until the caramel takes on a deep amber color and is smooth, about 15 minutes. Watch CAREFULLY, it burns quickly.

-Immediately add the water to stop the cooking – It WILL splatter. Reduce the heat to medium and stir until smooth. Add the cream, milk, and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is hot.

(Fill a large bowl with ice and water. Place a large, clean bowl in the ice bath and fit the bowl with a fine-mesh strainer.) <--including this because it is in the directions, but I did not follow it. I simply chilled a bowl big enough for the ice cream base.

-In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the remaining sugar until well blended.

-Remove the cream mixture from the heat. Slowly temper the hot cream mixture into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly until there is enough liquid in the yolk mix to heat it. Be careful not to scramble the eggs.

-Transfer the yolk mixture back to the saucepan with the remaining cream mixture and return it to medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a silicone spatula and scrape the bottom of the saucepan so it doesn’t scorch, until the liquid begins to steam and the cream has thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

-Immediately pour the custard through a strainer into the cold, clean bowl. Refrigerate until cold, preferably overnight.

-When you are ready to make the ice cream, transfer it to an ice cream maker and spin according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

-Pour the ice cream by the cup into your desired ice cream vehicle (I use Cool Whip containers, they are about perfect for this purpose), layering a bit of fudge sauce in between layers. When you have filled the container, take a small spoon and swirl it through the ice cream. This will create the fudge ribbons.

-Eat immediately if you like it at thick-milkshake-consistency, or freeze overnight for more traditional ice cream texture. Eat. Die of happiness. Repeat.

For the Cookies
(adapted from my friend Gilana's recipe)
1 cup flour
1/3 tsp. baking soda
1/3 tsp. salt
1/3 c. butter
1/4 c. white sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/3 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup Heath toffee baking bits
1/2 cup chocolate chips

-Preheat oven to 375 F.

-Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Mix in heath bar bits, followed by chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

-Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

TO ASSEMBLE ICE CREAM SANDWICHES: Find cookies that are uniform in shape and fill with one scoop of ice cream between them. Eat immediately, or wrap in tin foil and freeze until firm and ready to eat.



  If you’d like to check out today’s #IceCreamWeek recipes, drool over the blogs below:
Make sure you stop by our #IceCreamWeek Pinterest Board to enter to win bonus prizes. We have some amazing cookbooks up for grabs. All you need to do is comment on the current question pin to be eligible to win! Easy peasy!


Want to enter to win your very own ice cream maker?? Head over to my #IceCreamWeek Kickoff post for the details!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Ice Cream Social Week: White Chocolate Copycat Ice Cream #IceCreamWeek

Welcome to #IceCreamWeek! Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Jen of Juanita’s Cocina have teamed up with more than 20 of their blog friends to bring you a week full of ice cream treats, including a special ice cream giveaway! Prepare to have your taste buds tempted with some of the best ice cream treats around! Make sure you enter the giveaway for a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker and two fabulous ice cream cookbooks so that you can join in on the ice cream fun!
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It's funny, the kinds of things you get nostalgic for. How food can call up a certain memory, take you back to a certain place. With this ice cream, I was trying to do just that--call up the year 2006, early Fall, when I'd just arrived at Emerson College and was trying to find my way around the city with my roommates. Our block on Boylston Street (right next to the Common) had many great dining options, which was great because we soon found our dining hall to be "only okay" in terms of deliciousness. One night, just as a chill began to settle in, we quelled an ice cream craving with a trip to Coldstone Creamery.


I had never been. Back home, it was sacrilege to go to Coldstone. Why go to a chain when there was a plethora of locally-owned businesses with homemade ice cream? Locals even cheered triumphantly when a Coldstone storefront only lasted a year downtown before closing its doors. But we were hungry for sugar, it was dark, and the city was too scary to explore looking for a Mom & Pop type place. Coldstone became the short-term solution for a late night ice cream craving. Especially after I found a fully loaded gift card in a secondhand sweatshirt.


I only ever had one flavor, but that was all I needed. White Chocolate, with marshmallows mixed in. Since I got two free mix-ins, but only wanted one, I always just asked for rainbow sprinkles. This was my go-to ice cream. Whenever the drippy dining hall fro-yo became too much, someone would suggest the five minute walk to Coldstone and we'd all follow. A well-meaning new friend assumed I was simply a white chocolate lover and gave me a three pound slab of the stuff for my birthday--strangely enough, this was the only way I enjoyed white chocolate: in my indulgent little ice cream.

Imagine my horror when they no longer carried mini marshmallows for the mixing. My routine ruined, I pushed for frequenting JP Lick's, Emack & Bolio's, or, if we could handle the trek to Cambridge or Allston, the former Herrell's spots there. But I never found the exact combo again.

White chocolate ice cream, with mini marshmallows and rainbow sprinkles folded in, will always remind me of that first year of college. Now, I can happily make my own, when the feeling strikes.


White Chocolate Copycat Ice Cream
  • 1 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 bag white chocolate chips OR 1 large Godiva white chocolate bar, broken into chunks
  • 1 overflowing cup mini marshmallows
  • 1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles

-Over medium-high heat, cook cream, milk, and salt stirring occasionally, until the mixture is hot.

(Fill a large bowl with ice and water. Place a large, clean bowl in the ice bath and fit the bowl with a fine-mesh strainer.) <--I always skip this step and things turn out just fine, btw.

-In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar until well blended. In another bowl, place the white chocolate.

-Remove the cream mixture from the heat. Slowly temper the hot cream mixture into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly until there is enough liquid in the yolk mix to heat it. (most recipes say half the cream mixture, I simply do it until it is hot)

-Transfer the yolk mixture back to the saucepan with the remaining cream mixture while whisking vigorously and return it to medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a silicone spatula and scrape the bottom of the saucepan so it doesn't scorch, until the liquid begins to steam and the cream has thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

-Immediately pour the hot custard into the bowl with the white chocolate. Let sit for a few minutes, then whisk vigorously until the white chocolate is melted and combined with the custard.

-Strain the mixture into the cold, clean bowl and refrigerate, stirring every 20 minutes for the first hour or so, then occasionally every hour after that (for me this means "when I remember to"--again, turns out fine). When the custard is cold, leave in fridge for an additional hour or preferably overnight.

-When you are ready to make the ice cream, transfer it to an ice cream maker and spin according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once ice cream has churned for the recommended time, pour in the mini marshmallows and the sprinkles. Churn until well combined.

-Pour the ice cream by the cup into your desired ice cream holder or eat immediately if you like it at thick-milkshake-consistency. Freeze overnight for more traditional ice cream texture.

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If you’d like to check out today’s #IceCreamWeek recipes, drool over the blogs below:

Want to enter to win your very own ice cream maker?? Head over to my #IceCreamWeek Kickoff post for the details!